Wednesday, 14 November 2012

University Challenge - Repechage Round - Play Off 2

King’s College Cambridge v. Homerton, Cambridge

King’s College , represented by Curtis Gallant, Amber Ace, James Gratrex and captain Fran Middleton were beaten by St. George’s London in the first round, in a 175- 145 thriller . Homerton, represented by Jack Hooper, Michael Angland, Drew Miley, and their captain Luke Fitzgerald, were beaten 230 to 245 by New College, Oxford. I’m sure that it won’t have escaped your notice that there’s nothing to choose between these two first round performances. Bearing in mind how wrong I got last week’s first play off, I was making no predictions about this one. Game on .

There’s surely a psychological boost which comes from taking the first starter, and Monday’s fell to Amber Ace of King’s, who knew the several meanings of the word ‘bay’. The set of bonuses on trijunctions in Geography were difficult, and I don’t blame them for missing them all. Michael Angland knew that Maria Theresa was a prominent member of the Hapsburg family. Homerton’s first set of bonuses were on biographies by Peter Ackroyd. I’ve only read his biography of Dickens ( and of London come to think of it ) and it’s very good. I , like Homerton, only got the last. Drew Miley took the lead for Homerton, knowing a description of the warning sign for radioactivity. An early UC special followed with clues to the abbreviations of English counties – throws a rider = Bucks – Buckinghamshire. Good set, and they managed two of them. The next starter was one of those long , shaggy dog questions which eventually becomes rather obvious, but only at the end. JP took a long time to get to the word pendulum, but when he did I shouted out ‘Foucault’ just before James Gratrex did for King’s.Physics followed, which ruled me out, but not James Gratrex, who even earned JP’s admiration for taking the full set.Time for the picture starter. We saw a diagram of some of the UK’s tallest buildings, and Curtis Gallant took the points for King’s by knowing that the correct name of what many of us think of as The Canary Wharf Tower is One Canada Square. The bonuses used the same diagram, and asked for the correct names of three more.I was delighted to get the Beetham Tower in Manchester as the first – which King’s missed, but was impressed that Curtis Gallant knew that the Gherkin is 30, St. Mary Axe, even if they missed the current name of the former Nat West Tower. Jack Hooper knew enough about Lamarckism to buzz in early for the next starter, and even though they didn’t manage a bonus on American photographers this ensured that Homerton were only 5 points behind at the 10 minute mark, as King’s led by 50 to 45.

Neither team knew that the Porta Nigra is in Trier, but Fran Middleton was in very early for the next starter, knowing that the title of a famous Manet portrait is ‘Olympia’ ( who I believe was what my Nan would definitely have called a ‘lady of the evening’. )Bonuses on Chinese dynasties saw them supply no correct answers, unfortunately.Once again James Gratrex proved his value to King’s when JP started telling us all about the current exchange rate between bananas and apricots, and thankfully he supplied the correct answer . Place names followed, and I’m afraid that they probably should have known Limassol as the second largest city of Cyprus.They knew where the Londonderry Air was written, which wasn’t quite enough to make me raise my London derrière from the sofa, but they also knew about Magellan in the Philippines. You got the feeling that this contest was going to come down to bonuses, so King’s did well to make sure that they took two of this gettable set. Amber Ace took a punt with rococo as a term possibly derived from the French for shellwork, and was rewarded with 10 points, and a set of bonuses on crystallography.Can’t say that I had a clue what any of these were about, but James Gratrex had the second two. The music starter offered us the work of a german composer. I was delighted that my speculative punt of Bruch went smack between the posts, but neither team could get it. A lovely UC special starter followed. We were asked for a drug whose name is an anagram of an adjective referring to large expanses of sea. “Cocaine – oceanic” I said, and then Jack Hooper buzzed in with exactly the same.The music bonuses asked for composers whose works in question were inspired by the sea. They managed the one correct answer. Neither knew the place in Denbighshire which had its city status restored – alright, yes, I did have that one – St. Asaph.Michael Angland knew that April and November have the same name in German. The bonuses on kidneys actually saw me take a bonuse with Nephrons ! Yes ! That was the only one Homerton didn’t get. Drew Miley knew the FA Vase, and this gave them a shot at three names of politicians. They knew two, but missed out on the pub quiz chestnut about which US President was born Leslie Lynch King. You either know it or you don’t. Nonetheless a good couple of minutes had put them level with King’s. I was almost as impressed with Amber Ace recognising the work of Raphael for the picture starter as I was for getting it right myself. The bonuses focused on the same picture, the school of Athens, and asked them to identify some of the philosophers.Full house to King’s – I myself missed out on Diogynes the Cynic, although working in a school it’s no wonder he was a cynic. This little spurt meant that King’s led by 125 to 100 at the twenty minute mark.

On with the final mad gallop then. Jack Hooper knew ethene for the next starter. Nope, me neither. Terms beginning with the prefix syn - . Bang , bang, bang, a full house , and all square again. Good game. Michael Angland took the next starter on Rene Descartes, who I am unreliably informed was a pxxxxd old fxrt , ( I drink therefore I am). I loved the Sci Fi bonuses, which asked which writers created which planets. I knew the first, since I loved Frank Herbert’s “Dune” when I was in my teens. I didn’t know the second, but did know Asimov’s.Now, Homerton missed all of them, and you couldn’t help thinking that such profligacy at this stage of the contest might well prove very costly. Jack Hooper once again showed Homerton the way by buzzing in for dioptre on the next starter. Medical terminology again gave us questions gettable for the quizzer, but they didn’t manage any. I thought that when Amber Ace recognised a rather sneery verse from Byron about Wordsworth and Coleridge, that King’s were going to get some bonuses, but only managed one on Estonia. Amber Ace won the buzzer race to tell us that Saul was on the Road to Damascus. Bonuses on which PMs were served by which Chancellors again only provided one bonus. Enough to give King’s a precious ten point lead, but we were still very much in what Sir Alex Ferguson memorably described as ‘squeaky bum time’. Neither team knew the two Clarkes – Charles and Ken. Asked for the king of England forced into exile in 1013 , it was James Gratrex who managed the correct answer of Ethelred ( the second to be precise). Questions on Arbroath yielded but one bonus on a gettable set. Still, very little time was left, and a full set would now see Homerton still behind on points. Amber Ace took a very important starter by identifying Rufus Wainwright as the singer songwriter who had diversified into opera in 2009. Bonuses on protozoan diseases were more valuable for the time they used up than the ten points they produced.Unintentional comedy was provided by skipper Fran Middleton’s announcement of “nominate him . . . er. . . Gratrex !” Mind you she made up for it by taking the next starter on varieties of orange. King's were surely home and dry now, having 200 points to 140.I was glad for Homerton’s skipper that he knew the next starter about the border between New Brunswick and Maine, and that the team managed two bonuses on Dublin. This took their score to 160, as against King’s' 205. That was it, though. The gong went, and the game was over. Well played both, and congratulations to King’s.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Despite himself JP was moved to say ‘Well done!” with obvious admiration when King’s took a full set of Physics bonuses. The last was one of those where I – and possibly even JP himself – tend to switch off almost immediately after the word ‘If – ‘

On the Chinese dynasties bonuses JP reacted with much disdain when offered the ‘Tan’ dynasty. “No , I can’t accept Tan, it’s TanG. “ he replied, sounding mortally offended.

Luke Fitzgerald , I think, stumbled over getting the right word he wanted out when instead of ‘rococo’ he offered ‘ orinoco’. JP said nothing while Amber Ace gave the correct answer. Then , after confirming she was correct he muttered under his breath, completely disbelievingly, “The Orinoco is a river !”

I must admit , I’ll bet that JP’s incredulous “In Denbighshire ?!” was echoed by many in Wales in response to Amber Ace’s punt of Chelmsford. They may even have also offered their own version of his verbal double take when Drew Miley, after being ordered “Homerton – one of you buzz !” – offered St. Albans. “No, I . . . in DENBIGHSHIRE again ??!!!!”

Interesting Fact Of The Week That I Didn’t Already Know

The former Nat West Tower is know known simply as Tower Forty Two. Well, I suppose that it is the answer to the ultimate question, after all.


Jack said...

This might just be my favourite match of the series so far. Both teams gave a great performance, and kept it nice and close for most of the match. Like Lincoln, it's a shame for Homerton to be leaving us so early; they could easily have been a strong team with a better draw.

Jack Hooper's four starters were the side's best tally; the side answered 13/30 bonuses with one penalty. Amber Ace was the best buzzer for King's with six starters, which led to 17/36 bonuses.

Well done to King's, in particular James Gratrex, who regularly reads and posts on our reviews, and best of luck for next time.

Next week, Pembroke vs Bath in the first second round match. The week after, York vs New College.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack

Firstly, I echo your comments on jim360 - great performance ! As regards Homerton, well yes, a decent team, but in the end they were beaten fairly well in the last few minutes. This year it's been very hard to pick winners, let alone potential quarter finalists. Teams have to leave in order for the competition to progress, and Homerton haven't been able to win in two attempts, so I'd say that there's no real grounds for complaints at the end of the day. It's hard lines, but they have no need to feel bad about what they have achieved.

jim360 said...

Thanks for the high praise! It was a fun match to play. I remember thinking several times that this was it, we were finally going to pull away from Homerton for good, but they kept clawing us back. If it had gone on another two minutes I think it could easily have been all square again! But it didn't.

Pleased with my Ethelred starter - since it's outside my subject - but gutted that I missed out on Hapsburgs. It had just popped into my head when the other guy buzzed. So I had to make do with a weird one about bananas that is easier than it sounds, but I did it the hard way on the day!

Just for some explanation: given the two sums, 2 bananas and 1 apricot, and 1 banana and 2 apricots, then just add it all together to give 3 bananas and 3 apricots giving a £1.50 shop, so that if you only buy one of each it has to be 50p. Sadly, I didn't see that trick and just guessed.

Did the same for for that godawful question about a capacitor... I do my physics with pen and paper, so had virtually tuned out after five words. 500 makes sense, just because it's the only not boring way of combining 1000 and 2. Which is sort of what I did.

Amber Ace was on fire - this question set wasn't really for me, though I did contribute to the physics bonuses which was nice. And, for all that it's annoying to have your name forgotten on TV, that was a pretty great moment at the time!

See you again within the next two months.

LisaH said...

Well done King's!!!!!!!! (from a reject for their 1983-4 team)

Mikey said...

Fran Middleton needs to listen to her team more and stop frowning and huffing every time someone suggests an (often correct) answer she doesn't understand. And learn her team-mates' names.